Who has stolen drama group's costumes?
8:40am Monday 11th March 2013 in News
AN AMATEUR dramatics group is offering a £100 reward for information to catch a thief or thieves who stole more than 100 irreplaceable handmade costumes used for their pantomimes over the decades.
The Tiverton Players fear they are being targeted after all their best costumes, estimated at around £400 to £500, were stolen from their wardrobe in the attic of the Gorse Hill Community Centre, in Chapel Street.
The criminal or criminals apparently used a key to enter the centre, used the correct code to disable the security system, scaled a steep ladder to the attic above the dressing room, and made off with the clothes – possibly in several visits over several months.
The group, which has about 12 members and a history of more than 60 years, believe they are being targeted as the crime requires specialist knowledge and access, and because four years ago someone cut all the wires in the centre’s lighting box on the day of their pantomime.
Chairman Debbie Knotts, who is also chairman of Gorse Hill Community Centre, said: “When I first saw it I could have cried. I was so upset because I don’t understand why someone would want to do that.
“Why would you want to go there and jeopardise a drama group? What’s it all about? We work hard, we put all our own money into the costumes.
“We don’t have money, we don’t have anything. We do our panto and that pays for the rent of the hall. The costumes are our own, they have taken our personal stuff. It’s upsetting. “I have worked so hard along with the guys to get new costumes and we have got this really good lady that does the making for us, and look what they’ve done.”
Debbie believes the theft took place some time between September and mid to late January, adding that they had to hire costumes for this year’s pantomime performance of Sleeping Beauty from the Giggles fancy dress shop, in Faringdon Road.
Debbie is particularly upset about the loss of the Cinderella ballgown and Fairy Godmother dress, which she considers the most beautiful costumes.
She said: “What they have done is they have got about seven or eight rails and they have just cleared them out. But what they have done is they’ve left a few of them up there and spread them all out.
“The Cinderella and fairy godmother ones, they were in proper suit bags and they’ve left the suit bags and taken the costumes out and we didn’t realise they were gone as well.”
The locks and security code have since been changed, but Debbie is keen to find out who did the crime, which she suspects is part of a campaign to shut down the group. She said: “If people know of anyone that has got the costumes, please let us know. And a reward will be given to them for information leading to finding out who the person is.”
Anyone with information, can call Wiltshire Police on 101 quoting crime number 5413002707 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.